Should patients wear masks during slitlamp examination?

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In a new study seeking to analyze respiratory droplet spread during a slitlamp examination, researchers found that standard personal protective equipment did not completely protect the examiner from droplet particles.

Although the most droplets were found on the slitlamp and breath shield, smaller droplet particles were found in the examiner’s field and may land on the chest, shoulders, and arms, as well as on hair, hands, and shoes. The researchers also noted that the floor, walls, and window covers in the examination room were also contaminated.

Additional personal protective equipment, such as disposable gowns gloves, and surgical caps, may help reduce exposure.
The authors concluded that the use of masks for patients during the slitlamp examination should be further explored as it may be the easiest way to protect the examiner.

Felfeli T, Mandelcorn ED. Assessment of simulated respiratory droplet spread during an ophthalmologic slitlamp examination. JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online August 18, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2020.3472


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